A missing front light on a bike resulted in the arrest of a man suspected of several purse snatchings.
Michael Joseph Soraghan, Jr., 45, was apprehended during a traffic stop when an officer saw him riding with no light. The officer immediately recognized the suspect from a surveillance video that was taken during a purse snatching just hours earlier. Soraghan resides at the Keys Overnight Temporary Shelter.
There were two purses snatched last night, the most recent in a string of similar robberies that have occurred downtown since February 17th.
The first snatching last night happened around 7:30 p.m. on Truman Avenue near Packer St. The victim said a man on a bicycle rode up from behind her and stole her purse. She ran after him. When she couldn’t keep up, a man who witnessed the robbery gave her a ride and they tried to catch the thief but were unsuccessful. A surveillance camera belonging to a Truman Avenue business captured a clear image of the robber and police were able to issue a Be On the Lookout.
Just after midnight, officers were called to the corner of Truman Avenue and Center St. A married couple had been walking, they said, when a man rode up on a bike and “tore” her purse from her shoulder, then rode away.
At just after 4 a.m. an officer stopped Soraghan for riding without a light. The officer noted that he was wearing the same clothing that was shown in the video, and that the bike matched the description given by the victims.
Soraghan’s description and method of snatching match at least three other instances that have happened since February 17th. In each case, a man on a bicycle has rushed up behind the victims, snatching their purse and riding away.
Some of the stolen articles, including a smart phone, have been recovered, and detectives are still piecing together the cases.
Soraghan was taken to the Monroe County Detention Center, and faces at least two felony counts and more are pending.
Just the day before the KWPD had put out a Crime Stoppers alert on this problem:
February 25, 2015
In just over a week, there have been three instances of purse snatching downtown, and the Key West Police Department wants to remind residents and visitors to be careful.
Over the past eight days, three women have been the victim of purse snatching. On February 17th a woman was walking on Duval Street. As she crossed Virginia, at about 10 p.m. a man on a bike rode up behind her and pulled her purse off of her shoulder.
At about 2 a.m. on February 22nd a woman was walking on Olivia Street, just off Duval when a man rode up behind her and snatched her purse from her wrist.
The third incident occurred on February 24th. This woman was walking with her husband around 11 p.m. when a man riding a bike snatched her purse off of her arm.
The man in two of the instances was reported to have a black sweater or hoodie. In one instance, the victim was able to describe the man as a white male with a muscular build, short light hair with a goatee.
Police want to remind everyone to be aware of your surroundings and keep your bag or purse close to your body. If you’re out late at night, try to walk in lighted areas and avoid remote areas.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Key West Police Department at 809-1000 or call Crime Stoppers of the Florida Keys at 1-346-800-TIPS
This man, Michael Soraghan, had been arrested last year (10/2014) for grand theft under $5000, and being a felon in possession of an unregistered firearm. He was sentenced to 24 months probation. Less than 5 months later and he is again arrested for stealing. This is not an unusual pattern.
According to the National Institute for Justice, Recidivism, convicted criminals who re-offend after release, is a significant problem in the USA. Mr. Soraghan, who remains accused only at this time, falls into the category that has the most frequent and earliest rates:
National Statistics on Recidivism
Bureau of Justice Statistics studies have found high rates of recidivism among released prisoners. One study tracked 404,638 prisoners in 30 states after their release from prison in 2005. The researchers found that:
Within three years of release, about two-thirds (67.8 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
Within five years of release, about three-quarters (76.6 percent) of released prisoners were rearrested.
Of those prisoners who were rearrested, more than half (56.7 percent) were arrested by the end of the first year.
Property offenders were the most likely to be rearrested, with 82.1 percent of released property offenders arrested for a new crime compared with 76.9 percent of drug offenders, 73.6 percent of public order offenders and 71.3 percent of violent offenders.
There are those who would argue that the system creates a situation forcing this pattern, as it is difficult to find work with a conviction on the record. The other side would argue that it is symptomatic of a system that is too lenient and fails to deter this behavior. Regardless of your pet theory, with 1 out of 32 Americans either incarcerated or on parole, our penal system is clearly failing in some significant way to serve as anything more than a housing project.